Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:No. (Score 3, Insightful) 448

Sure, but if you want to disable them remotely, you have ton include a radio receiver. To disable the disable switch, I just have to damage/remove the receiver or its antenna so you can't get your signal to my weapon.

Conversely, if you DO make the disable switch both remote and password-based, all I have to do is set up radio transmitters that try every possible password. Will I get every one? Not likely. Will I be able to cause enough of them to fail that countries stop buying them? Probably.

Comment: Bad UX, possibly good security (Score 1) 194

by bitslinger_42 (#47755925) Attached to: $75K Prosthetic Arm Is Bricked When Paired iPod Is Stolen

While it's easy for me to see this as a bad design, it's also not much of a stretch to believe that this was a conscious choice. After all, if it were trivially easy to pair a wireless device with the prosthetic, it would be trivially easy to take control of the guy's hand (think "Stop hitting yourself!").

Is this bad for the user experience, particularly given it's predicated on an easily lost, easily broken, and frequently stolen device? Certainly. Is the UX of the lost/stolen device better than the UX of a compromised device? Perhaps not.

Comment: Re:Should be legal, with caveat (Score 3, Interesting) 961

by bitslinger_42 (#45527657) Attached to: Why Scott Adams Wished Death On His Dad

I have a buddy who went through this with his mom. She had a DNR, as well as detailed instructions about what conditions she didn't want to be saved from, and shared them with her GP.

His response was "That's fine, but I don't agree with it, and feel that DNRs fundamentally are in conflict with my Hippocratic Oath. If you are brought to me, I will do everything I can to keep you alive. You can sue me later, if you live." She would have changed doctors, but the next nearest was more than 60 miles away.

Comment: Re:On the plus side... (Score 2) 351

Well, that and the fact that there are thermal problems with large Li Ion batteries (think Boeing Dreamliner battery fires). Elon Musk actually discussed this in an interview on the 787 fires a while back (

Comment: Close to a good idea, if it weren't from the Goog (Score 1) 129

I'd actually been thinking about a service somewhat like this for a while now, but apparently missed my opportunity to have my app bought out by Google. Pity.

The problem with Google's project is it appears (I haven't read TFA yet) to only go half-way: it allows me to list the stuff I've got, but doesn't allow me to share my stuff with my friends. I'm much less interested in putting up an inventory of everything I own to allow my friends to tell me how much it sucks than I am in putting certain things up that I want to share with certain people (i.e. my circular saw, my DVD collection, etc.) and then tracking the loans online. THAT is the power of the online social inventory system!

Comment: Re:Dumbwatches (Score 1) 64

by bitslinger_42 (#44069743) Attached to: Developers Rolling Out Pebble Smartwatch Apps

There are decent, reasonably priced (for certain values of reasonable) automatic watches out there, particularly by Hamilton and Tissot. They're not terribly expensive ($300-1000 range), and generally not too ostentatious. The down-side of the automatics, though, is that they're not as accurate or reliable as a quartz-based watch. You also trade off battery replacements for cleaning/servicing every few years, which runs $75+ per service last I knew.

The Citizen Eco line of watches is very nice. They're quartz-based, so they're accurate, and they have solar charging that's not really obvious on the face, so you don't have to worry about batteries as much, and have more features than a "cheap" automatic (i.e. the one I've got has a date and enough smarts to know whether the current month has 28, 29, 30, or 31 days). They're also less expensive than decent automatics, some of which are available in the sub-$100 range.

Comment: Re:Can't have it all. (Score 2) 622

by bitslinger_42 (#43987901) Attached to: Keeping Your Data Private From the NSA (And Everyone Else)
The problem with that amendment is the "against UNREASONABLE searches" bit. With the culture of fear created after 9/11, a significant portion of the population feels that this is reasonable if done in the name of fighting Teh Terrorists(tm), which has thus far made the surveillance at least appear constitutional.

Comment: Re:Monsanto? (Score 1) 228

by bitslinger_42 (#43448879) Attached to: Will the Supreme Court End Human Gene Patents?
Conversely, if they uphold human gene patents here AND grant Monsanto the win in their GMO case (looking into whether naturally-occurring offspring of parents with patented genese are unauthorized derivative works, and therefore violate the patent-holder's rights) would that mean that people could no longer reproduce legally in this country?

Comment: What is Glass? It's the Newton of full-vision HUDs (Score 1) 496

by bitslinger_42 (#43427325) Attached to: Not Even Investors Know What Google Glass Is For

Glass by itself probably won't go very far. Why? Because the video overlay is only one corner of the user's field of vision. With a full-field overlay, all sorts of real uses become available:

  • GPS driving directions laid out as glowing arrows on the street in front of my car
  • Combine facial recognition with my contacts list to help me look less socially inept when running into people I vaguely know

    Help me cook by showing ingredients and cooking instructions without having to look at a book, and by putting dynamic fill lines on measuring cups (i.e. all I have is a 1 cup measuring cup, but put a line on it to show how much milk to pour in for 1/2 cup)

    Real-time translation subtitles of conversations in foreign languages

    Real-time subtitles for the hearing impaired

    Combine with proximity/motion sensors for police or soldiers to give indications when someone's approaching from behind or off to the side

    Add bluetooth and sensors to vacuum cleaners, and then highlight patches on the floor that still need more vacuuming

    Virtual docent tours of museums (i.e. recognize the painting in the field of view, bring up information about the painting, the artist, recommend other works that people who like this painting also like, etc.)

    Combine with bluetooth connection to a car to read ODB-II trouble codes and present apprentice mechanics with step-by-step instructions on how to diagnose and fix the problem (i.e. arrows on edge of vision to indicate where to look if part isn't being looked at, highlight part if it is, list steps to replace part, etc.)

    Provide surgeons with live metrics on the patient without them having to look away from their work

    End the "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy" phenomenon by dynamically displaying the correct lyrics to the song currently playing, whether on the connected media player or through any other audio source

    Automatic price comparison when looking at a UPC code of something in the store

    Automatically look up in a dictionary the word I'm looking at in a book

    Allow me to non-destructively highlight dead-tree books and share my highlights/notes with friends

    Automatically, dynamically remove Google Glasses from my view of any of my friends who are also wearing them

    Spell- and grammer-check anything I write, regardless of media

    Help me learn to read/write other languages by displaying translations next to foreign text or by displaying words to practice writing on the paper (particularly useful for character-based languages, like Chinese)

    Combine with multiple microphones to locate and highlight the source of that annoying noise that just woke me up

  • Guide me to my phone

As with the Newton, this won't take off until the tech gets better (i.e. full FoV overlay, adjustable focal point to put the overlay in the same field of focus as the current eye position, better cost, etc.), but once it does, things will get VERY interesting!

Comment: Re:More person, more cost. Fine. (Score 2) 587

by bitslinger_42 (#43348741) Attached to: Samoa Air Rolling Out "Pay As You Weigh" Fares
I actually like most of this idea, with two small caveats: 1) general anesthesia is risky; a small percentage of surgical patients die every year simply from the anesthesia, and 2) pretty sure I'd want my burrito to lock from the inside, so the flight crew doesn't steal my wallet or include sedated passengers in their in-flight orgy.

Comment: Trying to keep an open mind (Score 5, Insightful) 173

I know it's tough to remain objective in situations like this. I've been in some form of IT support or another for the better part of 20 years now, so this emotionally feels like an attack on me and my way of life. I'm trying to remain objective and consider his proposal, but damned if it doesn't sound silly. Servers don't run themselves, even when (especially when) they're in the cloud, and SOMEONE has to be around to help users when their laptop stops working. It's simply not realistic to expect secretaries, accountants, etc. to maintain deep technical understanding of their computers in addition to the deep understanding necessary for their respective fields. Don't get me started on expecting grandmothers to self-support!

I'm sure IT support will change as a result of cloudification, but I also suspect that there won't be much of a net cost or headcount change, just a shift in how support is provided and where the resources reside. Companies using the cloud will have fewer server admins, but will most likely need more systems architects to manage the proliferation of interfaces and to ensure that whatever is built provides sufficient performance, cost, and stability for their customer base. Where these highly-experienced individuals with deep knowledge of the business will come from without the entry-level server admin jobs I have no idea, but I guess that's why I'm not a manager with a corner office.

Comment: Re:Why perl? (Score 1) 263

by bitslinger_42 (#42330111) Attached to: Perl Turns 25

Having written in perl for the past 20 years, I started out trying to find something that perl can do that ruby can't (ruby is the only comparable language I have in my toolbelt). After a few minutes, I decided that, for the work that I do, the single feature that perl has that ruby doesn't is that I'm very familiar with how to write perl.

I've liked some of the things that I was able to do with Ruby on Rails, and could see how having a MVC framework in perl would be useful, but quite frankly, most of the coding I do these days is emergency, one-off parsing jobs that need to be written yesterday. Under those circumstances, I reach for the tool that I know best, I'm sure I could probably become equally familiar with ruby, but since I've already got one tool that does the job, why?

Comment: Judges should be apolitical (Score 5, Insightful) 153

by bitslinger_42 (#41892959) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Become Informed In Judicial Elections?

If you're in a state where the vote isn't "choose between Person X and Person Y to be a judge", chances are the vote is to retain an existing judge for another term. My philosophy has been that, unless I become aware of gross misconduct (i.e. bribery, criminal prosecution, failure to recuse self when obviously interested in the case, etc.), I vote to retain

The rationale is that the judiciary is supposed to be apolitical. If they have to go through campaigning, the way other candidates do, they become subject to campaign contributions and all the evils those entail. Leave them where they are unless they've done something obviously wrong.

"Ada is the work of an architect, not a computer scientist." - Jean Icbiah, inventor of Ada, weenie